November 23, 2017

I Give Thanks

By Glenn

It’s always a good thing to stop and examine our lives.  Thanksgiving reminds us to see all we have instead of what we lack.  Many of us get into the bad habit of concentrating on the negative instead of the positive.   Today, Modern America provides many reasons to give thanks.

If we take a short trip back in time 100 years ago, we find a world exiting the First World War.  Discharged veterans of the war found themselves jobless and with few benefits.   Luckily for Americans, overseas competitors in Europe were broken economically and psychologically.  This change pushed US manufacturers and finance to the front of the world stage and the job market looked bright in the 1920s.

The optimism hit a brick wall in 1929 when Wall Street crashed, bringing the entire world economy down.   As millions lost savings accounts, homes and jobs, President Herbert Hoover resisted calls for government action.  He preferred the traditional approach of letting the economy right itself.  It did not.

In 1932 Franklin Delano Roosevelt offered voters a New Deal, and they took it.  The New Deal brought electricity and roads to city and country side alike.  It introduced consumer financial protection with the FDIC and the Securities and Exchange Commission.  Seniors gained access to Social Security, and millions of Americans went back to work.

These New Deal successes laid the ground work for Modern America.  When troops arrived home after World War Two, they were welcomed with a GI Bill that provided housing and educational assistance.  These programs were so successful lifting Americans up, Congress extended the opportunities to everyone with the FHA loans and Pell Grants.

The last key to building Modern America was to fulfill the promise first made by the Founding Fathers: All men are created equal.  We all know that that promise left out Africa American slaves and women.   For much of our history legal racism and sexism stripped them of their dignity and freedom.  With Supreme Court action in 1954 and Congressional action in 1964/65, we began to right these wrongs.

Today, I give thanks that I live in Modern America.  Our tax dollars take care of the veterans, seniors, the disabled and unemployed.  Public schools and universities strive every day to provide ladders of success for Americans from all walks of life.   We may not be a perfect union, but Modern America has done a much better job taking care of the least among us than 19th Century America ever did.  For all of these changes that improve our lives, I give thanks.

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